Game 437 – Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 2

Game 437
Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 2
Saturday, February 10, 1962
Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario

Seldom has the depth of the Montréal hockey task force shown to better advantage than Saturday evening, when the Canadiens defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2.

The Gardens’ largest crowd of the season, 14,782, watched a rapidly moving, hard hitting game.

In a game that packed more action in the first five minutes than the entire 60 minutes of Wednesday’s waltz between Boston and Toronto, the so-called secondary support, Bobby Rousseau, and Ralph Backstrom in particularly, overshadowed Jean Béliveau, Dickie Moore, “Boom Boom Geoffrion” and Henri Richard, the usual stars of any given game.

The Canadiens, in winning their first game at the Gardens in five appearances this National Hockey League season, were much sharper than the Leafs, still somewhat disorganized by injuries. Although shots on goal were fairly even, 32-30 in favour of Montréal, the visitors were the better opportunists and their persistent forechecking broke up many a Toronto rush.

The Canadiens were practically handed a goal midway through the first period and were never headed. Twice the Leafs scored to cut down the margin, but on both occasions, the Canadiens roared back in confident manner to restore their lead.

This Montréal team, beset with injuries to key players in the early weeks of the schedule, has rounded into shape and Saturday’s win, providing a seven point lead, almost guaranteed another league championship.

A bright note for the Leafs was the return of Eddie Shack, out six weeks with a torn ligament. Although he didn’t get his name on the scorer’s sheet, he was on ice duty for both of the Leafs goals. His first appearance, on the Leafs power play late in the first period, was greeted by a prolonged roar from the fans. Ten seconds later, the Leafs scored.

He was also working on the power play in the third period when Red Kelly scored. Montréal goalie Jacques Plante gave Shack credit. Indirectly, complaining the rambunctious right winger struck his stick between his legs, preventing him from making a play on Kelly.

Kelly, obviously still suffering from a shoulder injury, was used sparingly, although he saw more action in the last period than the first two combined.

Coach Punch Imlach juggled his forward lines. He used Shack at right wing with Kelly and Frank Mahvolich, moving Bobby Nevin to a new line with Billy Harris and Bert Olmstead.

Don Marshall opened the scoring with teammate Louie Fontinato in the penalty box. Marshall intercepted a pass from Kelly deep in the Toronto zone, and quickly fired behind Johnny Bower. Jean-Guy Talbot made it 2-0 for Montréal, scoring with a low long shot on the power play as Nevin sat out a high sticking penalty. Talbot won shooting time when Tim Horton and Ron Stewart hesitate to take him out of the play.

Talbot was in the penalty box when Allan Stanley scored, firing from the point after Mahovlich won the draw on a faceoff in the Montréal zone.

The Leafs dominated play for the first two minutes of the second period, then Rousseau broke away to take a long pass from Béliveau and fire a slap shot into the Toronto net.

Early in the third, Kelly took a pass from Mahvolich and worked his way into scoring position, taking advantage of the bouncing Shack’s close proximity to Plante.

Backstrom scored the final goal on a clever play set up by Rousseau, who carried the puck into the Toronto zone, dropped it and took out defenceman Stanley with a sliding block. Backstrom had a clear shot.

NOTES: Imlach now has doubts of catching first place again this season. He hopes to have Dick Duff back by the Canadiens’ next visit, February 21, but may not rush him into action if first place looks hopeless. Imlach wants at least 25 days with a full squad to steady away for the Stanley Cup rounds…Pro golfer Al Balding was a press room visitor, beaming with news that his wife, Mo, had presented him with a baby daughter at St. Michael’s Hospital earlier in the day. Balding leaves for Tokyo and Hong Kong a week Wednesday…Kelly needed four stitches to close a cut on his upper lip when hit by a deflected puck late in the game…Plante’s ankle was badly swollen. The Montréal goalie injured it several weeks ago. There was no break but it has not responded to treatment.

Story originally published in The Globe & Mail, February 12, 1962

1st Period

MTL PEN – 07:29 – Fontinato, hooking
MTL SH GOAL – 07:58 – Marshall
TOR PEN – 14:58 – Nevin, high sticking
MTL PP GOAL – 16:22 – Talbot (Provost, Moore)
MTL PEN – 18:49 – Talbot, holding
TOR PP GOAL – 18:59 – Stanley (Mahovlich)

2nd Period
MTL GOAL – 02:15 – Rousseau (Béliveau)
MTL PEN – 05:58 – Geoffrion, interference
MTL PEN – 10:07 – Béliveau, tripping
TOR PEN – 10:07 – Horton, tripping
MTL PEN – 14:01 – J. Tremblay, high sticking
TOR PEN – 14:01 – Pulford, high sticking

3rd Period
TOR GOAL – 03:43 – Kelly (Mahovlich)
MTL GOAL – 06:17 – Backstrom (Rousseau, Johnson)
MTL PEN – 08:47 – Moore, tripping
TOR PEN – 10:44 – Shack, cross checking

MTL – Plante (W, 28-30)
TOR – Bower (L, 28-32)

MTL – 12+11+9 = 32
TOR – 12+8+10 = 30

MTLGoaltenders: Jacques Plante. Defence: Lou Fontinato, Tom Johnson, Al MacNeil, Jean-Guy Talbot, J.C. Tremblay. Forwards: Ralph Backstrom, Jean Béliveau (C), Bernie Geoffrion, Phil Goyette, Bill Hicke, Don Marshall, Dickie Moore, Claude Provost, Henri Richard, Bobby Rousseau, Gilles Tremblay.
TORGoaltenders: Johnny Bower. Defence: Bobby Baun, Carl Brewer, Tim Horton, Red Kelly, Allan Stanley. Forwards: George Armstrong (C), Billy Harris, Dave Keon, Ed Litzenberger, Frank Mahovlich, Bob Nevin, Bert Olmstead, Bob Pulford, Eddie Shack, Ron Stewart.

MTL – 30-10-11 (.696)
TOR – 28-16-8 (.615)